Why I left?

I always made sure I appeared the way I was taught to be, but deep down there was a piece of me I couldn't put into words or thoughts. I was in denial of my sexuality and continued to listen to church teachings and I began to demonize myself. It was a struggle because I 100% believed the teachings I was conditioned to believe/know. I knew nothing else. I finally began blogging around the time I was supposed to go on a mission and that's when I really began to find myself. Later on I found the CES letter and that really opened my eyes and I realized I had just been conditioned my whole life. I hadn't had my own thoughts or beliefs yet. I have finally began finding myself.

If you are interested, my blog is www.talesofananxioussoul.blogspot.com

I started blogging before I left the church so its cool to see the evolution from the beginning. I hope I am able to help at least one person in their faith transition. <3

zjones94

one last strain of craze...my final testimony

.....truly....it is finished.

May 10th, 2014

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
50 East North Temple St.
Salt Lake City, Utah 84150

To the First Presidency and Quorum of 12:

Until recently, I like many others who have become disaffected from the fairy tale of the LDS church…suffered alone…. completely alone in the knowledge that my God given intellect provided to me. I cannot express adequately the sorrow, the gasping loss of family and the faith crushing effects of discovering the house of cards that comprised my 30-year association in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am beyond my capacity to endure this...

I was moved initially by the comments of a poster on Craigslist in 2009. If you are at all familiar with it, some of it may be reflected here in this post. It is now May of 2015 and I am living in the ruble of a destroyed marriage, loss of children and grandchildren, the disapproval of thousands in my community and much more than can be elicited here…all in the name of the “only true Church on the face of the earth”. The delusional, ludicrous nature of that claim by the LDS church is incomprehensible to my mind. As my sister has coined…. these are not Latter Day Saints, but Lucifer’s Dedicated Servants. After all…he does make more than a cameo appearance in the temple video with his fear mongering….”if any of you fail to live up to these covenants made here this day….yada yada yada …you will be in my power”. Wow…if the church is true, do you really need Satan to threaten you? Wouldn’t the Holy Ghost provide that confirmation without needing Satan to threaten you?? Why does he get air time at the end…and not Christ explaining “grace as a result of his sacrifice” and that it is available to all men who come to him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit??

In September of 2013 I was released as a YSA Bishop and at that time, I was fully active, fully worthy, and fully deceived. I remained active solely for the sake of immediate and extended family unity (my wife’s side), and to preserve my marriage, and honored my calling as a YSA Bishop. The fact was that at the time, I did not have the courage to act upon my knowledge about the LDS Church’s skew/fraudulent history and doctrine. I revealed my lack of courage regarding the inevitable to my mother in July of 2012. She had seen the concern in my countenance at their 60th anniversary in 2010… and predicted then what the outcome would be. She patiently listened and counseled me with “is it better to live in a broken home than to be in a broken home”. Kind of a new take on what Robin Williams said in “I always thought the worst thing in life would be to be alone, but I’ve learned that the worst thing is to be around people who make you feel alone”. The reality of life in the Mormon culture is you wake up guilty, feeling inadequate and go to bed recognizing that you haven’t done enough. The emphasis on imperfection destroys any chance at living life in accord with how you were designed by God. Living with laughter (even loud) and levity, is no sin. Being happy according to the dictates of your own conscience is not a sin either. It is how God created you.

All of the aforementioned and much more had created a considerable dilemma for both the church and myself. As a Bishop and in my counseling with YSA from 18-30ish….it was more than apparent that I was not alone in this. The vast majority of the youth falls into the same problematic rut of wondering…what really was the church founded on. Lies?? Why in Jacob 2 in the Book of Mormon and several other places is it stated that it is an abomination to have more than one wife or concubine…and be the most “correct book on the earth”….all at the same time? And then we have Joseph Smith saying in the 132nd section of the Doctrine and Covenants that it’s okay, and even better…it’s a commandment???? You as a body of “leadership” know this contradiction in doctrine (and many more) and yet provide no spiritual or clear solutions. You prefer to discover and establish business investments that generate income, rather than retain individuals and provide spiritual food. It’s no wonder that the best and brightest are leaving…. along with their tithing dollars.

This letter, therefore, is an appeal for your consideration of my personal dilemma. Kind of a new take of “and if you should save one soul how great shall be your joy”, and to serve as a witness against you who as a body of leadership, consistently fail to act honestly. If history repeats itself, as it always does… you will not respond and continue to put your head in the sand, hoping that this is just “one” and will somehow just go away. I will NOT go away. I don’t have to be a multi billion-dollar corporation to have an effective social media campaign. Generally, something that resonates with truth will develop a momentum that money cannot buy. So we’ll have to see where this goes…and if I can influence just one…..how great shall be MY joy!!!

The tempo of occurrence of departure is multiplying exponentially. The church is experiencing the same apostasy…. that they teach, a falling away as a result of a corrupt leadership from within. Again…you know this and in your rigid, antiquated stance are helpless to address this. You’ve completely lost touch with not only God, but with yourselves as human beings. Your delusional claim of having some sort of widened conduit or bandwidth as a result of your so called prophet, who in reality is so dementia ridden he can’t decide which sock to put on first in the morning - no longer has validity in not only my life but in the lives of the majority of members. Wake up. Is anyone conscious enough to listen?? Holland?? Bednar?? Christofferson??? Oaks?? I list you specifically as I once hung on your words. Only to discover that you have become cunning and filled with sophistry of words to deceive or cloud truth.

I initially intended to write this letter anonymously because I feared the power of your unrighteous dominion. I don’t fear you or your Trojan horse behavior. Each of you has mastered the theology of DC 121:39 regarding unrighteous dominion and power. You represent the living examples of that doctrine. You have no authority over anyone whatsoever, and no validity as prophets, seers and revelators - and I retract any sustaining that took place in the course of my time in the church. I have repented of sustaining you with the Savior, repented of my misguided behavior and lack of discernment: having abdicated at one time… my agency to the LDS church. I have since recovered that, after resigning my membership and have never felt more whole, more connected/consecrated to the Savior and never felt more eager to serve those around me.

This is the result of having discovered truth……a natural desire to serve God’s children. IF….truly IF the LDS church was true, Home Teaching would not be a dismal single digit statistic across America (and falling). Truly, sacrament-meeting attendance would not hover in the 30% range (again…falling every year). Literally, if truth had/has been restored….the wards would have people beating down the doors to get in and receive the word. Remember that thing about….every knee shall bend and every mouth confess…..Look it up. The soul does indeed recognize truth.

I have a testimony that the soul, the human soul will recognize truth…. something you all fear. You fear the truth as history records it from multiple/verifiable sources. And yet, with all your professed inspiration and revelation, you have NO solution to the ever-increasing collapse of failed programs to proclaim the truth to the ends of the earth. Why??? Because you are NOT lead by inspiration or revelation.

I am disgusted by your tactics, yes they are premeditated tactics… and I no longer forcibly serve you. I no longer live under that cloud of shame and guilt and imperfection. You’re pathetic banner of agency (and how to enforce it) will serve as little protection to you as the truth unfolds in this and subsequent generations. It will not be well with you at the last day either. I will add that you don’t know enough about me to form an opinion as to who I am and the decibels I can reach with my voice, both audibly and digitally in proclaiming real truth to the world.

I am writing with the intent that I might somehow divest myself from the animosity I feel in having been robbed of 30 years of my life. For having had my family stolen from me as a result of the cumulative effect of reinforced lies from your leadership. I am writing in the futile hope that you (or anyone with a shred of leadership and conscience) will care enough to respond in a Christ like manner to this growing and unavoidable tragedy within the church; the tragedy of those who know the truth and cannot act upon it without destroying their families.

Human souls are at stake here…Unfortunately, in my case….my family has been destroyed. I lost all hope and reason as a result of the subtle craftiness and sophistry that exists within the so called “inspired words” of the likes of Jeffrey R. Holland, Neal A Maxwell, Gordon B. Hinckley, Dallin H. Oaks, Boyd K. Packer, Boyd K Packer, Henry B Eyring, Thomas S. Monson and many others. Just because you as a leader have not been included here does not give you a free pass. I especially refer to the Nazi like dogma from David Bednar and Boyd K Packer. Their constant fixation on sexual matters reeks of personal unresolved shame and guilt and the projection of it. What a pathetic excuse for goodness and honesty they are. In so many cases you all, are nothing more than another ladder climbing, self serving, egotistical puppets of a mentally deranged, dementia ridden so called prophet of God.

Speaking of which…when was the last time you heard him or any other GA publicly state that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God? When was the last time any of you address the inspiration that became Polygamy and Polyandry over the pulpit. Bednar, Holland, Oaks and the rest of the elite in the first presidency, quorum of 12 and the many quorums of 70, area authorities and local so called leadership are spineless to address this topic with the spirit of tenderness and honesty that was the hallmark of Christ’s ministry. At the last day, your money will not insulate you from the judgment of God.

If this was the gospel of Christ restored, then the history of its restoration wouldn’t be such a grey area or stifled by the church. Millions if not billions wouldn’t be spent on acquiring authentic documents to ultimately hide, obscure and sanitize the truth.

Here’s an FYI……there is no secrecy in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. None. No admittance fee to the temple…and for that matter…no need for temples as God does not dwell in temples made with hands. Acts 17:24. Shocked?? You should be, since you don’t consider the Bible as having any real relevance, unless you can find some obscure Old Testament scripture to validate the Book of Mormon. Whatever….most don’t even know that over 500+ verses of Isaiah were copied with all the grammatical errors in punctuation and spelling from the 1769 King James Bible. Is it coincidence that Joseph Smith has the same version?? Was God such a bad speller that his dictation was identical to 15th century English with all of it’s spelling and punctuation errors? Here’s another shocker for you. Galatians 1:8. I’ll leave it to you to have your secretaries look it up for you after they blow the dust off your Bible.

There is only a need for secrecy as a result of the deceit perpetrated by the leadership of the LDS church over many generations. Consider this…An emotional experience (upon which all LDS testimonies are built on), does NOT give you an increase of knowledge. Nor does it substantiate or bolster fact. Facts stand for themselves, and an awareness of them increases knowledge. Having said that, most if not ALL LDS testimonies are rooted in nothing more than a “feeling” or an “emotional experience” and not in any fact. You DO NOT KNOW that Joseph Smith was a prophet because you felt something. It’s impossible. We do have facts to substantiate that he was a con man and convicted of such according to the laws of the land. And of course…..You believe in upholding and sustaining the laws of the land. (12th Article of Faith)

My son has just completed his second year as a medical student. His study and proficiency in the subject matter is a reflection of his increased knowledge. And that knowledge is rooted in facts that are necessary to become, ultimately a Neurosurgeon. No matter how deep his emotional experience was in wanting to be a doctor….That did not give him ANY knowledge in his chosen field. The same holds true for a testimony of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, the Pearl of Great Price and a multitude of doctrines are all rooted in the cloudy nature of an LDS testimony and a feeling. There are no facts, no plates, no artifacts, no cultural historical evidences, no geography, no monetary systems, no grains, no structures, no swords, chariots, in fact……no nothing to substantiate them. Kinda like Santa Claus…..no facts, no evidence….just a bunch of embellished lies.

The LDS church is NOT the true restored church. There simply are NO facts to substantiate it. NO “feeling” will ever establish the veracity of truth that comes from FACT. The strongest argument for it is relegated to the ramblings of a lust driven, selfish, cunning and convicted con man. Joseph Smith. That is a recorded fact. Yes, the veracity of the entire LDS church rests on the words of a convicted con man. How comforting. How uplifting. How enlightening.

The Chinese have a saying that goes something like this…..”beware of old men who nod wisely, and speak foolishly”. The world in it’s spiritual apathy is given a front row seat to the truth of that statement every 6 months when these self inflated general authorities espouse their personal thoughts, nodding knowingly/wisely on a variety of topics. As a 30 year member/veteran in a variety of leadership roles, I’ve witnessed that consistently within the leadership of the government of the LDS church. I am not alone in this and you know it. My gosh, do you ever step outside of your bubble of delusion to really see who you’ve become and what you follow?? Do you ever consider the turmoil you create in the destruction of marriages, families and even cultures? Have you become so consumed with your vast financial empire and power mongering that you’ve lost sight of the basic principles of decency and honesty and the value of a human soul?

How in the world do you reconcile your doctrine to building a mall in the shadow of the supposed House of the Lord…spending billions of dollars, that is open on Sunday and serves alcohol 7 days a week? Don’t hide behind the fact that you have a non LDS partner that owns those facilities either. Whatever happened to the church’s doctrine that I’ve heard so often of “avoiding the APPEARANCE of Evil”. What separates you from the money changers who were chased off the temple grounds by Christ during his ministry on earth?? Shame on you, you blasphemers who set yourselves apart as having some great spiritual wisdom.

Do any of you who stand as supposed prophets, seers and revelators…have the courage to answer any of this plainly and truthfully and publicly?? THE WORLD IS WAITING…as am I, as have thousands of others over the generations.

I come from a strong Christian Mennonite heritage, I grew up poor by todays standards, and was taught in the ways of being a good citizen, hard worker and loyal servant of Christ. I grew up in central Canada as a famer; I was naïve but sincere in my youth and I completed reading the Bible in both German and English by the age of 13. At my baptism into the LDS church, I essentially lost my relationship with my birth family in Canada. I felt the sting of Matthew 10:34-38. My family warned me repeatedly that I was being deceived, but my feelings for my eventual wife and her 2 children overshadowed the necessity to make an informed decision that should have also been rooted in fact. My fault, and fortunately for the LDS church….the internet didn’t yet exist.

I was labeled as the quintessential golden convert and I took the missionary discussions 3 times when I was 26…. stumbling over and over on several principles that included the existence of a Prophet…Polygamy, the inequality of Blacks holding Priesthood, tobacco, alcohol in any form and many other nonsensical Pharisaical laws.

But I was in love with a woman who already had 2 children from a failed temple marriage to a Returned Missionary (imagine that??). I loved her and her children. They were 5 and 6 and I adopted them, loved them as my own, and raised them within the doctrines of the church. I served as a Ward Mission Leader (without any Priesthood), an inspired oversight I guess, as an Elders Quorum President, Young Men’s President, in three different Bishoprics as a counselor, High Councilor for nearly 10 years, as a YSA Bishop, Gospel Doctrine teacher, seminary teacher and various other callings. I was a voracious reader and student of the gospel, and even more of a student of the truth. I have attended the temple countless times and served as an ordinance worker at the veil. I have worked hard in the church and sacrificed seemingly an incalculable amount of time and energy over the course of 30 years. It wasn’t until I was called as the Bishop and I met with honest, sincere YSA’s who asked real questions, that I began in earnest to find the truth. At first it was to help them, but in the end it really helped me see the lie that I had been perpetuating for so long.

Fast forward to today…May of 2015. I have lost the family that I created here on earth, but regained my relationship with my mother and father and siblings. I have also regained my freedom and life, having finally received my letter of confirmation that I have resigned my membership in the LDS church. I am not some piece of human refuse that can be swept into the ever-growing pile of disaffected and disillusioned members in the church. That number is growing and gaining in momentum. I’ve been in the meetings with Tom Perry and Dallin Oaks and various other GA’s as the demographic of 15-30 year olds that leave the church grows. This age group represents the future of the church. They also live in an age of information. Lots of it and it is easily accessible. With that comes the risk of exposing what the church is really founded on and the indefensible nature of it. You are doomed and ultimately will be found out on an enormous scale. You will become as obsolete as a mortician during the resurrection. Your weak attempts at transparency with the recent Essays on church history will not sustain you. You don’t even have the courage to sign them with authorship. One word comes to mind.

Pathetic.

Given my investment of time in penning this letter and the 3 decades of service and sacrifice, I feel that some form of reciprocal communication from the leadership of the church is in order. You have my email. Use it.

You cannot continue to plug all the holes in the dam that is leaking membership, by ignoring events such as this in people’s lives. YOU KNOW that there is NO restoration. There is NO restoration of the Priesthood, NO restoration of Temple ordinances, NO plain and precious truths restored (none, not one single one has been identified that was supposedly lost), NO restoration of baptism (Christ already demonstrated that in the NT)…..You know that the Lamanite program (native American westernization) was a farce and that they would never become “white and delightsome” as the Book of Mormon claimed, Yes…..NO NOTHING. Just vagueness and ever changing doctrine.

Tell me what was lost in the Bible that the BOM supposedly restored. Tell me what the fullness of the gospel represents and restored????? Tell me how polygamy is inspired of God when it is denounced several times in the BOM, starting in Jacob and fully contradicts the 132nd section of the Doctrine and Covenants?? Tell me why the 132nd section of the Doctrine and Covenants still exists today…if Polygamy is no longer a Prophetic utterance that the church no longer subscribes to??? Tell me how God is unchanging and reveals things in his time, never to be retracted. Tell me and the followers of your ever changing BS why your God consistently needs to recall his revelations to his prophets???? Tell me and the world where the “correctness” of this infallible book is???? Tell the world what has been changed since the 1830 version of the Book of Mormon was released. Be specific and honest. All this and so much more from “the most correct book on the face of the earth” and re-enforced by the sham of prophetic leadership. You as a body, represent blasphemy defined. You, each of you has arrived at some point of apathy where you can no longer identify with truth, with God’s will or with the needs of God’s children. One shouldn’t be surprised here, since Satan somehow has relevance in your temple endowment. Who the heck would include the fear mongering of Satan as a voice of reason in the supposed spiritual experience of the temple endowment. Yet he has a place and instills fear with his haunting comments of “if any of you here today fail to live up to the covenants made here today, will be in my power”. …….Wow….where is the spirit of the Holy Ghost there. Do you really think Christ would be okay with you given Satan a chance to have a voice here??? I guess since you’ve already baptized Hitler, Stalin and a host of other genocidal maniacs….its okay.

Here’s a reality check for you……..the youth of today are completely internet savvy. They can find the truth about most anything and the historical data to support their findings. You have little to NO sway over them in this day and age and the statistical data that you gather substantiates that. Your days are numbered and you know it. Your hand wringing, hat in hand appeals to the membership of the church doesn’t resonate anymore. Your own statement (thank you Dallin Oaks) The church doesn't "seek apologies and we don't give them" will only continue to subvert your efforts to capture this youthful and informed element. When you finally arrive at the point of desperation to truly and honestly admit the historicity of the church….it will be too little too late. I would venture a guess that this and many other ridiculous inspired quotes from General Authorities will come back to haunt you at some point as you face ever growing challenges to the future sustainability of the church. You might want to take a peek at Matthew 12:37…..”For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned”. There are so many similar quotes of arrogance from the church that even when you do consider an appeal to forget the past and start over…..it will have no effect in stemming the flow of defectors. I’m still trying to figure out how Dallin Oaks’ statement of no apology bears ANY attribute of Christ like behavior.

Here’s a second point for you all of you “uber-intelligent” leaders to consider. If you take Christ out of Christianity, the Church would fall/fail. If you take Christ out of Mormonism, you would continue as you have done for 180 years. You revere your prophets, you annual manuals are a testament of that statement. You have NO manuals on the life of Christ. None. None that annunciate or articulate his miracles, none that dwell on his life…..just more adulation of dead pedophiles/prophets who perpetuated the nazi like high stepping mindset of control. Here’s an update…you have NO control over me. I am free of you and your pathetic laws that have no origin in Christ’s teachings.

I hope I live long enough to see the Church of Jesus Christ come to its public day of reckoning. You know as well as anyone that seeks truth, that the church is deteriorating at an accelerated rate. The day is fast approaching to where you can no longer deny that the church in fact has a negative growth. When you pontificate at General Conference about how well the church is doing, facts will condemn you and expose your deceitful desperation. Given the apathy of the world, the only thing that will save you is your money. You have plenty of it, acquired on the backs of the meek of the earth. And given the currency that appeals to those led by the adversary, you will continue to have followers.

If it weren’t for 3rd and 4th world countries and their illiteracy…you would have nowhere to go. There is no growth in Canada and the US or Western Europe. Child of record baptisms is all you have to substantiate growth, and as the families downsize due to economic pressure and families get smaller, with fewer children….that too will dry up and be outpaced by the departed. There is barely a measurable percentage of retention in South America and many other parts of the world. Reducing the age requirements for missionary service will have the same effect that layoffs have in an economic downturn. You cannot cost cut your way to profitability and remain sustainable. You can’t throw more people at missionary work to proclaim falsehoods to generate growth. False will always be false, and truth will always overrule falsehood, just as light will always overcome darkeness.

Shame on you…..for building a financial empire that is masquerading as Christ’s church, and all at the expense of the faith based gifts of hard working, in many cases, impoverished people. I testify to you, that I will stand as a witness against your deceit perpetrated on the innocent and humble in distant lands, and even throughout the earth.

I myself have four children, two returned-missionary- one served as an AP in Peru……all temple-married, two graduates from BYU, and have 12 grandchildren…..all active in the primary and youth programs. My wife and I have lived our nearly 30 years of marriage completely united in our commitment to a gospel oriented home. My now ex-wife is one of the most valiant, unquestioning, devoted members you will ever meet. She is blindly obedient and would not hesitate for a second if she were asked to be another wife of the so-called prophet or other leaders of the Q15. She reels with guilt in drinking Coke and feels such trivial disobedience requires fasting and confession to a Bishop. That is the mindset of someone incapable of thinking for himself or herself. That is someone who has graduated from the church curriculum of Agency 101, and how to Enforce It. That is the mindset of a brainwashed, programmed Stepford Wife. It IS blind obedience. Our happiness in marriage was centered in the gospel, and not in the synergy of love without the encumbrances of religion. We have faithfully performed all of the home-strengthening practices (FHE, daily prayer and scripture study, etc) throughout our married years, not 100% but in the course of life, we gave our best efforts. Our children are strong in the church because we as parents gave them that foundation. We were your typical Mormon success story.

This changed approximately three years ago. The story about how it changed is long, complicated, and spans years of turmoil, personal study, personal observation, and experience. In my personal study and questioning, I have followed the simplicity of 3 principles as it relates to truth.

1. What do the scriptures, history and archeology say.
2. What does my God given intellect tell me as I study and discover and test all things. (James 1:5)
3. What does my experiential knowledge add to support a doctrine, fact or principle.

Rather than rehearse the entire journey, I will only summarize the end results. If additional details are needed regarding the details of what led to this discovery, beyond what is written here…..I can be contacted at ********@gmail.com. But…you already know what I know. There will be no new surprises for you. I’m not the first, nor am I the last.

If you’ve made it this far by actually reading this, here’s something else to consider. The recent “essays” provided by the church admitted with some vagueness, the truth of the polygamy and polyandry of Joseph Smith. Strangely in spite of this lame attempt at clarifying his behavior, it has always been verifiable on any Genealogical website…including the one sponsored by the LDS church.

Given the facts presented in the “essays”, and given that Fawn Brodie was excommunicated for publishing Josephs sexual behavior in her book “No Man Knows My History”…..will she have her membership re-instated now, posthumously? And if so, what does that say about the inspiration that caused her to be excommunicated. Did God make a mistake, was his inspiration to the Stake President flawed…or is it representative of the “feelings” of the Stake President and his HC. Somehow it would seem that “feelings and inspiration/revelation” have become synonymous in the culture of the LDS church. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are as opposite as “knowing good and evil” vs “knowing good from evil”. In case you missed what I just said, one is the invitation of Satan and one is the invitation of the Savior. Feelings are generated by man (imperfect). Inspiration/Revelation are generated by God (perfect and unchanging).

Suffice it to say that I have discovered reliable many unchallenged facts (as have many others) about church history, church operations, church doctrine, church secrecy and church culture that have brought me to the undeniable conclusion that the church is NOT TRUE. There is NO prophet and the NEVER was one, starting with Joseph Smith. Not only is the church not true (meaning that it is not what it claims to be), but the church purposefully withholds (even denies) vital information that would lead ANY thinking person to the same conclusion. I am astonished at the LDS Church’s portrayal of Joseph Smith translating the golden plates by candlelight in some pensive, demur setting while his scribe gazes in awe at his inspiration. This is the imagery that is fostered by the church to the world at large. The reality from numerous eye witness accounts including that of Joseph Smith’s scribes and even Joseph Smith himself…..is that HE PLACED HIS HEAD IN A HAT TO OBSCURE THE LIGHT AND WAITED FOR MAGICAL WRITING TO APPEAR ON A ROCK HE FOUND, WHILE DIGGING A WELL FOR HIS NEIGHBOR. Seriously?? Why is this truth not taught???? Too embarrassing?? To “crazy”. It sounds like a script for a cartoon.

Church leaders even boast about the moral and ethical justification for acting this way in obscuring the truth.
Thank you again Dallin Oaks ….and I quote him…..“It’s wrong to criticize leaders of the Church, even if the criticism is true”. Boyd K Packer and others have spoken similarly of this. Again….are you serious, and you expect people to believe this????

….This is the behavioral pattern of a cult; it is inconsistent with the church’s own articles of faith; and it is the central reason for the growing groundswell of revolt from within. It is inconsistent with the mind and will of God and I don’t need a self-proclaimed prophet to tell me that. To ignore this fact is the height of arrogance. You are either stupid, apathetic, led by Satan or you are completely devious…or all of the above; whichever you choose, you lose.

As I’ve already stated, you already know that the church is not what it claims to be; you already know that Native Americans are not the Lamanites of the Book of Mormon; DNA evidence of the natives of America prove you wrong: you already know that the whole story of the BOM is not accurate, geographically or historically….and that there never was a translation of gold plates; You already know that a View of the Hebrews is the template for the Book of Mormon; you already know that the Book of Abraham is not a translation of the papyri that it claims to be (since the facsimile has been deciphered and Egyptian CAN now be read); you already know that the first vision account is not reliable or accurate (since there are 8 versions that differ from one another); you already know that church history is a warped version of real history and real history paints a pretty bleak picture of church origins and behavior; you already know that spiritual “special witness” experiences are not what the average member believes them to be; and you already know that as prophets, seers, and revelators, you DO NOT possess any such gifts as they are understood by the average member. You also know that the testimony of the signed 11 witnesses signed a document drafted by Joseph Smith…..and that they NEVER saw the plates with their natural eyes. You know….and yet you LIE. You receive and even encourage unqualified trust in your special abilities, and you know very well that those abilities are not special at all. You may be talented administrators and/or orators, but you are not prophets, seers, and revelators, and you know it. Yet you allow members to revere and honor you as such to placate your disgusting egos. You are either self-deceived or you are willing deceivers, and are capitalizing on the monetary advantage you have with your publications. Knowing they will be lapped up by the moronic obedience of a deceived membership. You know that members believe and teach that you have had personal physical visitations from Jesus Christ, and you know that you have not had this experience. Yet, you are willing to allow members to perpetuate this myth for unknown but unavoidably dishonest reasons. This is a pattern, not an anomaly. You know you are not what you claim to be (or what church culture teaches about you); and you allow this false perception to continue. What does that say about you and your integrity? From my vantage point…you are the hallmark of sociopathic behavior. Pretend as you might in the course of your lives…you know…as do I that a day of reckoning is coming. I’m not sure whether my innate sense of compassion will overrule the need for Justice and offer you Mercy….as I stand as a witness against you. Regardless…. you know…. it is coming.

So, after coming to this awful realization that things are not what they claim to be within the church, what are my options? This journey was so disruptive and internally tumultuous that I chose to travel it alone. I was absolutely certain that there were solid faith sustaining answers to each disturbing fact. Finally, after I had absorbed the magnitude of the truth, I tried to share it with my wife. To her horror, she saw that her husband had gone into the unthinkable realm of “apostasy”. She refused to even pray with me, as I had a “different” faith. At first, she resented me for even looking; then she denied the possibility that any of it could be true; then she tried to stand on the shaky ground that even if it was true it did not lead to the conclusions I had made; finally, she clings to the defensive posture that I cannot be smarter than you (how can so many good men be wrong and her imperfect husband be right?). As any good investigator knows…you follow the money.

And…this is where you as the 15 leaders come into the picture. This is where the church comes between myself and my ex-wife in our now defunct marriage relationship. This is where the damage is done in countless other relationships. Do you think that you can escape responsibility for this damage? Do you doubt your complicity in creating this wedge? Can you understand how people like me come to a point of seemingly powerless resentment against the church? I suspect that you cannot understand such things, because if you did you would use your influence to make necessary changes. You are too busy being blinded by the money that continues to flow unabated into the church treasury and it’s trickle down effect in your personal lives.

I once taught my children, how much $1 billion dollars was. The short explanation is as follows: If you spend a $1000.00 a day how long would it take you to spend $1 Billion dollars with no interest accruing?? It would take 2,739.72 years….YEARS to spend. Yet you consistently take in billions of dollars in tithing to do what???? Build a multibillion-dollar mall that violates your own doctrine by being open on Sundays and serve alcohol 7 days a week. You cannot hide behind partners or anything else you can conjure up…you can’t avoid your own doctrine of avoiding the appearance of EVIL.

I am no longer trapped in the church; of that there can be no doubt. I have finally after 1 1/2 years received my letter of confirmation of resignation. And I find enormous comfort in the words of Christ in Matthew 19:29…and I quote from LDS scripture….”And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life”. In the end, that will redeem me. Not you.

You glorify those who leave their families to join your church and at the same time you demonize those who would leave the LDs church for whatever reason. In doing so you violate on every level, the 11th, 12th and 13th Articles of Faith in your own doctrine. You stereotype those who obtain damaging “truth” as intellectuals and apostates. You encourage an atmosphere of exclusion against those who have information that would damage faith, even when that faith (as is LDS faith) is founded upon false data and the information that challenges the LDS doctrine is rooted in truth.

Your efforts of withholding and denying truth have had the result of destroying my personal integrity (for a time).
I know things that I once could not openly speak about ( now I can and will). I can say this……I lied in temple recommend interviews so I can go to the temple to see my own children get married, and because my wife is comforted by the image of a temple worthy husband. I missed and wasn’t even invited my youngest daughters wedding since I didn’t and wouldn’t pay the admission fee required to attend the temple (of being a full tithe payer). I denounced the false prophet of Joseph Smith…..and in your disillusion marketing/trolling…..families are not forever (unless you do it your way). This isn’t Burger King. I don’t do it your way. You as a delusional leadership body limited my one time opportunity to rejoice in the union of my daughter to her chosen companion. That is an event that cannot be repeated. I will never attend her “first” and hopefully last time at marriage. You stole that from me. God didn’t. You did with your ridiculous Pharisaical laws. Laws that have literally no rooting in Christ’s revealed doctrines. You are nothing more than a cheap imitation of the Masonic order, having stolen their ordinance and calling it your own. And the truth is, that Joseph Smith was killed for having revealed/stolen that information from the Masons. Thank God, the Masons have a spine, if for no other reason that to stand on principle.

I also lied to my children when they questioned an aspect of church history or doctrine, because the truth would place them in the same pressure cooker I am in. I lied to my wife because she finds the truth so disturbing. I lied because telling the truth is more painful than a comforting lie. And I learned to lie from you. You are lying to the membership by your silence (and denial) regarding information that is vital to faith. People have based their faith on incorrect information; you know this; and you remain silent. You lie for the same reason that I lied; because people prefer a comforting lie over a disturbing truth.

Your understanding of the culture you created and perpetuate through established programs is dismal. You preach adherence to the guidance of the brethren; you promise blessings for obedience to programs and leaders; you build a structure of dependence and hierarchical authoritarianism; you inculcate an environment of conformance without regard to individuality; and you do all of this with the stated intent of blessing and improving lives, relationships and family bonds. You are the new improved; less filling, lemon fresh scented Hitler of the 21st century.

Your programs have evolved into a culture with the opposite effect than the one you intended; members feel constantly inadequate regardless of their effort; they wake up exhausted, mentally and physically as a result of almost inhuman efforts in service and the ongoing war in their heads of imperfection and the subsequent beating with the clubs of shame and guilt; families pressure struggling children with bad advice that comes from your talks and books; you raise the bar, a blatant slap in the face to those who do not fit within your misguided program. Programs flounder not because of poor execution but because they are poor programs. When such negative results reach your ears, you are saddened that the poor members just do not see the vision; you nod wisely and speak foolishly with no solution because the lay members of the church that cannot learn the vital lessons. It never occurs to you that your inspiration and leadership is the flawed element. Either you are uninspired or uninformed, but your leadership is causing more suffering than blessings. But this is not really about bad programs. Rather, it is about faulty foundations. I do not expect you to acknowledge that the church is not what it claims to be, but I demand that you acknowledge your part in the failures. Stop blaming failure on the members. They give all and when they finally realize the truth, they too will stand as a witness to what you have done to them. In the end as it relates to the aforementioned…. it is cheap and dishonest.

My anger and disillusionment led me to the point of attempted suicide on my birthday in March of 2014. I tried to drown myself in the ocean, but the waves kept tossing me to shore. I am embarrassed that I descended to such a point of sorrow. The despair as a result of my loss was unbearable. Perhaps the waves sent me back to shore as a blessing from God, in that I was willing to give up my life and place it on the alter so to speak….that I might find it again (Matthew 16:25). If for NO other reason than to witness against your unrighteous dominion. I do not expect you to understand this as your apathy has been hardened with the passage of time. I do not expect you to do anything with this information, except to try to track me down and deal with me through your “strengthening the members committee” as Jeffrey Holland so cunningly sidestepped in his interview with the BBC.

I am not alone. I am part of a growing community of knowledgeable members and ex members who will not be silenced. You have no idea how to deal with us because you fear our power, the truth and an ever-increasing momentum….and a disconnect from the youth of today. You have nothing to offer them. You fear it because you know that truth is on our side. I would feel pity for you except for the inexplicable arrogance that you currently display without remorse.

The law of the harvest will be your undoing. You have sown seeds of benevolent deception; you shall reap a harvest of faithful rebellion, and Justice will have it’s day with you. Do not expect mercy from those who stand as witnesses against you. They have already paid the price in mortality. You, on the other hand…will pay eternally.

With confidence in the forgiveness and grace of Christ Jesus,

I stand redeemed and forgiven….
Ken ********

Ken-Dueck

My reasons for leaving the church are most succinctly explained this way: I finally concluded that it was not what it claimed to be, and that the nature of its teachings and their consequences was such that it would require a deep betrayal of my own conscience, given my personally held values, to continue affiliating myself with it.

What led me to that conclusion? Many, many observations throughout my life that can be summarized as fitting into one of the following categories:

1. The manner in which the church promotes its message is not consistent with the claim that it is genuinely devoted to one of the core tenants that it claims to care so much about - truth. This is evident in the way it obfuscates facts about its history. It is evident in the fact that it so heavily and consistently encourages people to actively avoid both critics of the church and their criticisms. It is evident in the intellectually dishonest ways of thinking that it encourages its members to use when they do encounter facts that shine a poor light on the church's claims (The book of Abraham is a standout case). It is evident in the fact that the methods that it urges people to use to determine whether the church is true are ones that leave them extremely vulnerable to the cognitive biases and blind-spots that human beings are prone to, placing them in a mindset wherein they can be easily manipulated or mislead by bad evidence and emotional appeals. It is evident in the dishonest way that the motives, character, intellectual and spiritual capacities, and the condition of life enjoyed by those who leave the church, and especially those who criticize it, are portrayed within the church. It is evident in the fear that plays such a large, though unacknowledged, part in encouraging people to not doubt, to not question, and to never, ever, leave.

Ironically, the manner in which the church promotes its message strikes me as remarkably consistent with the manner in which it says that Lucifer intended to ensure, should he be chosen to represent God on the earth (in place of Jesus) that not one soul would be lost (The Pearl of Great Price: Moses 4:1), namely by suppressing a person's ability to exercise their free will. The church does this by using misinformation, bad philosophy passed as wisdom, and inappropriate, coercive psychological pressures, to control the membership's exposure to and interpretation of any information relevant to the question of the church's truthfulness, and it rationalizes doing so in the same way - that it is necessary to save them.

2. The church's claims about the world and its place in it are not consistent with the facts. Many of the teachings of the church amount to claims such as these - that thanks to things like the "Gift of the Holy Ghost" and the priesthood authority of God one should find (indeed - it has been explicitly claimed that one does find) that the teachings of this church, and its leaders and members, are more moral, more discerning, and more prescient, and that the membership enjoys more success in its endeavors and more miracles, in short - that within this church one should and does see more of the "hand of God" than one can find anywhere else in the world. Many members will claim that they do see precisely more of such things within the church than without, while others will insist that the church makes no such claims in the first place. To the latter I stand ready to reply with many examples, to the former I must simply explain that when I contrast the teachings and experiences found within this church with those to be found without it, I find no substantial difference in manifestations of the "hand of God". Rather, I find evidence that in many ways it has lagged behind the curve of positive changes in societal views and standards on some very important matters (homosexuality and the equality of blacks for example), both comparatively to some other religions and even atheists. Furthermore, I do not find evidence of the "hand of God" more generally, and this despite the fact that I have, in fact, had many of the kinds of spiritual experiences that form the pillars of faith for most other people. The difference between they and I being, in my view, my willingness to consider alternative explanations for those experiences, which brings us to the next point.

3. All that I have learned, experienced, and observed throughout my life makes far more sense when explained by a vision of our (humanities) origin, destiny, and purpose, that only becomes available when one rejects, not only the claim that this church is true, but the claim that there is a God. It's a better fit with everything we know about the history and mechanisms of the universe and life on this planet. It's a better fit with everything we know about the religious history of Humanity, including how this and so many other religions speak about themselves and each other, including their claims to miracles and their conflicting claims on truth. It's a better fit with the way that these religions promote faith within their ranks (Mormon's certainly aren't the only one's who do those things I spoke about in item 1). It's a better fit with what we have learned about the deficiencies in peoples perceptions and intuitions. It's a better fit with everything we know about how credulous human beings are. It's even a better fit with the demands of rigorous philosophy.

Of all the above points, the most important to my personal journey are captured in item 1 for the simple reason that most of those things were observable from within the bubble of the church and were my first clues that something was amiss. They are also the source of those ways in which myself and many others have been personally harmed by our time under the church's influence. To believe an incorrect idea will not always result in harm, and not all who embrace an incorrect idea, like the claim that this church is true, will experience an internal conflict in doing so, but I and many others have experienced the “persuasions” of the church as what they are revealed to fundamentally be when viewed through a lense that encompasses a much wider view of the world and all that is in it - coercive manipulations that caused us to do psychological harm to ourselves in order to conform to the church’s picture of how a “good” person should act, think, and feel, and in my case at least it caused me to do psychological harm to myself in order to believe against the dictates of a truer voice inside.

When I first came out to my family about my decision to leave it was on the heals of having spent a great deal of time writing out my thoughts and observations, both for the purpose of sorting them out and examining them, and for the purpose of creating a document whith which I could explain those thoughts to others. In the end, it was a book-length endeavor. Here is one sample from that document which conveys something of what the experience was like for me on an emotional level:

"The question of belief is one which I always took very seriously. I struggled to attain it earlier in my life, and doing so was its own journey involving deep introspection, questioning, and courage, but when I did, finally kneeling down and asking to be laden with the heaviest burdens (a reference to the parable “The Three Metamorphosis”, in "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", by Friedrich Nietzsche), taking from them an assurance that I might be found worthy, those efforts, and my expressions of belief were all sincerely meant, for they were expressions of my deep desires to do good and conform myself to whatever is most true.

I have likewise struggled to depart from belief, fearing and trembling as I went – fearing that I was betraying my deepest desire to be on the side of Truth, fearing to put off my camel's burden and chance being found unworthy. My journey out of belief has required as much faith and courage from me as my previous journey into it. Whereas before I needed to learn to trust another’s guidance, with this journey I have had to learn to trust – to have faith – in myself; to have faith in both my whole heart and my whole mind.

In the Bible we read this oft expressed notion in religion: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). There is a worthwhile idea that is trying to find expression in this verse, but a common consequence of this teaching, in its many forms, is that it tends to lead the believer to not trust their own mind on certain subjects. They trust the “Book”, and their preacher, but not truly themselves, which is a problem – because our own mind and heart are the one portal through which one _must_ pass to see “God” however one defines that word. Our ability to have faith in God, or any other concept, rests first with our ability to have faith in ourselves – in our ability to correctly understand whatever experience could lead us to such belief… or away from it. Though my former faith in the LDS church was a sincere expression of my deepest desires to find “God”, maintaining that belief was something that required me to blind my own eyes, ignoring a whole category of impressions from both my mind and heart, and to contort my soul into unnatural postures within a mold set before me, not by my own choosing, but someone else’s. I can no longer do it. The light that my eyes see is too bright for me to ignore any longer, and my soul aches."

There is, of course, much more that I could say. But, this does a fairly good job of capturing a birds-eye view of at least the character of my intellectual, spiritual, and emotional journey. The details would take far too long to explain here.

fbb

The weight on my shelf had been growing for years. Until around 2012 I had been fairly good at leaving the issues there, having faith, reading apologetics, and trying to feel the spirit more. But the more I read, the more I struggled.

I finally got to a point where I stopped brushing aside all of the things that didn't make sense to me, and I stopped caring whether or not an information source was "approved of". The biggest problems for me were (1) race and the priesthood and (2) the church's ongoing fight against LGBTQ individuals. Even though my beliefs went from literal, to nuanced, to completely non-literal, I still very much wanted to stay in the community and I remained active with a temple recommend.

When the November 2015 policy was leaked, everything changed. I had often times asked myself what I would have done if I had been living in the days prior to 1978. I would like to think that I would have spoken out about racial injustice in the church, but I can never be sure. When the 2015 policy came out I thought, "what would I do right now if I had a gay child?" The answer was obvious to me, I would immediately leave the church without hesitation. Well, we are taught in the church to mourn with those that mourn, and just because I wasn't personally suffering the direct consequences of the policy was irrelevant to the suffering of others. It became clear to me that I could no longer participate in an organization that persistently attacks those I care about. I knew that the fallout for leaving from friends and family members would be brutal and agonizing, but I simply could no longer stomach the revulsion I felt from the actions of the institution. So my wife and I left, and we have never once regretted it.

Brandon Bridge

In 2013 I was the First Assistant to the High Priest Group Leader and I oversaw "group education". The course of study for the year was "The D&C and Church History". I decided to enhance my knowledge of Church history by embarking on an ambitious reading project. I read, in 14 months, beginning in January:

The Standard Works (twice)
The History of the Church (7 volumes)
A Comprehensive History of the Church (6 volumes)
The History of Joseph Smith By His Mother
The Journal of Discourses (26 volumes)

Mind blown. Testimony shattered.

Spoke with wife. Then Bishop. Then received a visit from my Stake President accompanied by the local Area 70 in my home. The Church Authorities had no answers.

2016 rolls around and I make a Facebook post. Somehow word made it to the Stake President and he has my Bishop call me in and ask that I take down my post. I declined. I am called into the Stake President for a visit and he asked me directly to take down the post. I declined. A week later my Disciplinary Council is held and I was excommunicated.

Over a Facebook post. Rather petty, wasn't it? But the Church needs to protect its good name, right?

BHolt

I always found myself at odds with the Church socially. Even when I was on my best behavior there was always this higher unattainable standard. I worked hard through school and my mission to be a part of a Church I thought would help me live a happy life. After a broken off engagement and a lot of questions piling on my shelf I came to understand the Church had no real answers.

smoothheretic

In January of 2018 I was reading a church manual for general edification (haha). I read a passage about Lorenzo Snow that had an ellipsis ( ... ) that I thought might be worth looking into. I was stunned to see that the excluded text was small but very significant. Leaving it out changed the context of the whole section I was reading from. I was confused why the church would do that or feel a need to be deceptive or unethical. I tried to justify it and figured it would be an anomaly. I proceeded to look up other ellipsis in the manuals and look up the full quotes. I found a pattern of twisting words and being deceptive that is blatant dishonesty in my eyes. I wasn't taught to behave that way in my home or in the church so it was very discomforting.

I started reading everything from the church with a more critical eye and found so much shady writing or hiding of the truth that lay just underneath. Context matters and they definitely don't teach that enough in the church. In four months I read and read and read church approved materials and their associated source documents. I realized that I was wrong in using certain rhetoric with my wife when she expressed doubts or issues with past leaders. Although I had kept this reading addiction from her so far, I started apologizing to her for being so naive and under-read.

Over the next two months I was really searching for the silver lining that would save my testimony. I couldn't find it, it only got worse. The church's gospel topics essays sealed the deal. If the priesthood ban was based on the theories of men as they wrote, what else is?

At this point I felt safe to look at "anti-Mormon" material (historical documents and other writings). I knew my stuff now so sniffing out the BS would be straightforward (or at least possible). I found most "anti" stuff to be quite factual. Sure there were exaggerations and some vitriol mixed in but that was discernible.

My conscience burned knowing that I was part of supporting such dishonesty and I couldn't stay. It became really tiresome hearing "it's true" and "I know" statements at church over and over. If the church was "true" then nothing else would matter (thanks, Hinkley). But that isn't the case so there is no sense for me to be supporting a church that oppresses women, minorities, ethnicities/cultures, the lgbtq+ and others based on the theories of past and present leaders.

downingj

I got frustrated with always being told “milk before meat” when I would ask hard questions about the church. I’ve always been a fan of logic, science, and critical thinking. I just finally got around to applying logic and reason to matters of faith and found them to be lacking. 

michael-taylor

It's complicated. I still believe in the principles of the gospel, and love the church as I understood it when I learned about it. But I have since learned a new (actual) church history that I cannot reconcile with my principled beliefs. I can say that I left mormonism because I studied church history and because I have to live with integrity. Things didn't line up with what I'd believed, I'd been fed a line (and I'd taught the same on my mission no less) about how perfect the church was and honorable the founders of the religion were, but after studying them I don't think they had integrity or were acting under true direction from God. I was saddened to come to that conclusion because I had a real love for the mormon religion and views on Christ and plan of salvation. But if the church foundation wasn't what it said it was, if the leaders weren't men of God, if the priesthood was merely a trump card in a power struggle, if eternal marriage is the twisted offspring of polygamy and polyandry, if the temple ceremony is more from masonry than revelation, if etc etc. Then, I can only see Mormonism as a tribe. A single tribe in a world of many tribes. A tribe with some serious issues including a compulsive obsession for truth claims. Also, a tribe I was still interested in being a part of, but as more of a non-believer in those truth claims. It became too difficult to participate in any sort of gray space because no matter how welcoming the church professes to be – in its current state of existence, it relies on these very truth claims as an integral part of its identity and can't allow dissentious thoughts to be introduced without shutting them down. They claim to welcome everyone, and that doubt is ok, but in action are actively seeking to exile that gray space and forcing those of my persuasion to participate in the tribe as a silent, unfaithful and judged unworthy observer. I left because that was not a healthy place to be and over time, my need to participate in the church practices diminished more and more.

Evan Mullins

After my third failed attempt at an “eternal marriage”, each one ending in abuse, and an unexpected anxiety attack in the temple, I started therapy and did some deep soul searching. I found the root of my problem was the sexism that existed in the Mormon church, both cultural and doctrinal. One of my feminists friends introduced me to the gospel topic essays, and my testimony hit an iceberg, and sunk like the titanic!

becca-walton

I had my name removed from the records in 2015 when the Policy of Exclusion was leaked. That was the straw that broke the camels back. By that point, I had been "out" (as in as a gay person) for 11 years, and I was tired of being celibate and being told that I would be "fixed" in the next life, and that there was something inherently wrong with me. I was tired of having monthly worthiness interviews to make sure I wasn't doing anything inappropriate. After I had my name removed, I started finding out about the fact that there were 4 different versions of the First Vision, and that Joseph had married 14 year olds. I found out about the "rock in the hat", and all of the REAL history of the church. My mind was blown and I was pissed. I couldn't believe I had believed all that crap for so many years.

imgonnafly

I began to study the life of Christ to learn how to be better. As I did that, I began to see inconsistencies with how the LDS church was behaving. The response to the McKenna Denson allegations that acknowledged there was an unnamed 2nd woman gave me permission to ask questions about why the response was so un-Christ like.

After months of cognitive dissonance between the correlated curriculum and the recorded history of Mormonism as recorded in its own archives, I was done. I waited for our son to get home from his mission before resigning.

I resigned in December 2019 along with my wife, oldest son, and youngest son. Of the 6 people in our family, 4 have resigned, 1 is completely inactive, with only 1 active.

Joshua Biggley

I became heavily involved in the Ordain Women movement because it invigorated my spouse's faith in Mormonism. We thought it could be a way for Mormonism to help rediscover its progressive, egalitarian roots with the historical practice of Women's Blessings and a doctrine of Heavenly Mother, and then we had our first daughter, and I wanted to create a better faith home for her to grow up in.

When Kate Kelly was excommunicated, our optimism was crushed, but I kept searching Church History to understand Heavenly Mother and the nature of God, which led me to contemplate who the Holy Spirit could be. The best answer I found was from Janice Allred (Allred, "Toward a Mormon Theology of God the Mother", Dialogue Journal, 1994, Vol. 27, No. 2, Pgs. 15-39) who argued that "God" could be the Heavenly Couple together, Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother, and that each of them gave up their immortal bodies to serve us on earth. Heavenly Father gave up His body to become Jesus Christ - The Son and Heavenly Mother gave up Her body to become the Holy Spirit. I was ecstatic to discover that there could be room for Heavenly Mother in the Godhead, and there would be a space for my daughter to emulate a Feminine Divine, but then I learned that Janice Allred was excommunicated for her paper and presentation that had brought me so much faith and inspiration.

I began to look further into Church History to understand the First Vision and changes regarding marriage (e.g. monogamy as doctrine, polygamy as doctrine, Family Proclamation, and views on LGBTQIA issues), and I kept finding changes in doctrine. The Nature of God seemed to change through Church History, the Doctrine and Covenants seemed to be changed in response to political and legal pressure instead of being revealed ahead of time, and when I realized that the most problematic "revelation" for me personally, D&C 132 regarding polygamy, was only added two years after a new law - the Poland Act of 1874 - was introduced to aid in the prosecution of polygamy, I finally allowed myself to consider that Mormon Prophets weren't receiving revelation, but were reacting to legal pressure.

I kept searching, hoping I might be wrong, but the further I dug, the more I found out about the evolving nature of the First Vision, since the "first vision or first visitation" appeared to evolve from being a "treasure guardian" who visited Joseph when he was between 18-19 years old, to an "angel" who told him his "sins were forgiven" when he was 17 years old, to "many angels" telling him his "sins were forgiven" when he was 14 years old, until the First Vision account I was familiar with from 1838 declared that "God the Father & Jesus Christ" appeared to Joseph when he was 14 years old. It was unsettling because none of the early church leaders, like the three witnesses, or later leaders like Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff seemed to know about the "First Vision" from their teachings, see here regarding the "doctrinal evolution of the mormon god": http://www.jvalentiner.com/2017/09/doctrinal-evolution-of-mormon-god.html

Through my research, I kept seeing instances where doctrine seemed to be changing and leaders kept failing to predict the future. One of the most startling examples for me was when I realized that the Mormon Church Presidents had changed positions on marriage multiple times: for instance, the original D&C 101 (1835) states: "we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband", but that was later replaced with D&C 132 (1876) "new and everlasting covenant - polygamy". That change appears to have happened two years after a new anti-polygamy law, Poland Act of 1874, was passed by the U.S. government. It appears that it was expressly canonized in preparation for a first amendment challenge to that Act, which ended up going all the way to the Supreme Court in Reynolds v. United States (1878). The Supreme Court ends up upholding the Constitutionality of the Poland Act and the Church ends up losing. Further legal and political pressure is added to dissuade the practice of polygamy, and eventually the First and Second Manifestos are given to publicly declare the practice of polygamy "over", while it was still practiced in secret for several more years.

Later in 1991, the marriage equality fight begins in Hawaii, the Mormon Church files an amicus brief to petition to intervene in the marriage equality case but is unable to point to any "scripture or doctrine" for monogamy, since they had previously argued for a first amendment right to practice "polygamy" in Reynolds v. U.S. - an irony that was predicted by Dallin Oaks in a legal memo that he prepared and was dated the same day he was sustained an apostle on August 7th 1984:

>"The leading United States Supreme Court authority for the proposition that marriage means a relationship between a man and a woman is Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145 (1878).  In that case, in which the United States Supreme Court sustained the validity of the anti-polygamy laws, the Court defined marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman.  The court's stress in that case was on one.  The modern relevance of the Reynolds opinion is in its reference to marriage as being between a man and a woman.  The irony would arise if the Church used as an argument for the illegality of homosexual marriages the precedent formerly used against the Church to establish the illegality of polygamous marriages."

- Dallin H. Oaks, "Principles to Govern Possible Public Statement on Legislation Affecting Rights of Homosexuals", 7 August 1984, Pgs. 19-20

In 1995, Gordon Hinckley introduces the "Proclamation on the Family" and the Mormon Church uses this document as basis for their doctrine supporting monogamy in their petition to the Hawaii court in the ongoing marriage equality litigation in 1997.

It appears that an original monogamy doctrine was replaced with a polygamy doctrine to fight a law on constitutional grounds, later the Church tries to intervene in marriage equality fight, but needs to supplant their polygamy doctrine with a document establishing monogamy as doctrine.

If they were "prophets", why didn't they see into the future? Why didn't the leaders of the Church fix these problems before laws and court decisions forced a change? If leaders are actually inspired by revelation, why has "scripture" been amended several times to flip flop from monogamy to polygamy to monogamy?

I didn't have an intellectually honest answer to that, and my integrity required that I regain my agency and authority. It took control of my life by taking a different path.

See here for citations and more detail regarding the "doctrinal evolution of mormon marriage": http://www.jvalentiner.com/2017/02/doctrinal-evolution-of-mormon-marriage.html?q=mormon+marriage

Jeremy Valentiner

I always had a couple areas that were troubling and problematic for me from the time I was young, but I always found ways to push those things aside and blamed it on my own "weak faith" or inability to understand. As the years progressed, I continued to have more and more concerns that became harder and harder to push away or justify as only being my own lack of understanding. It was a very hard and emotional journey, full of years of exhaustive research. I have resigned after several years of having no more ability to believe that this church was divinely inspired.

Valerie Stephens

I heard about the Fanny Algers story and was completely shocked. I looked for answers but there were none to give. Struggled with cognitive dissonance for 8 years. My brother left the church 2 years ago and he posted a Mormon Stories podcast about a family’s faith transition story. I decided to face my fear and study church history and issues objectively- without confirmation bias. My brother introduced me to fb support groups and I told my family I was leaving the church. I was brave and I’m so happy. 

Kristie-DeRoque-Carlson

There have been things that have bothered me about the church for a long time. I had a shelf before I realized what that meant. Sometimes the story with Joseph Smith seemed so implausible, and I knew I would never have joined if I hadn't been born into it. After being taught how to research in high school, and to look at both sides, it seemed wrong sitting in seminary and learning that we should never look at outside sources. That put up a red flag for me, but my family and several of my friends were Mormons, so I was always too afraid to look into it. I figured that it wasn't really hurting anything, and it was easier to just not question. I had a hard time with things like the November policy. I put a lot of that kind of stuff on my shelf. It wasn't really until Sam Young that I realized how dangerous and toxic this environment can be. My children are approaching the ages of bishop interviews, and so it was time for me to really evaluate the truth claims of the church. And it all fell apart. I could forgive a lot of the history, but the fact is, it's not the narrative I was given. They lied. If you look at the gospel topics essays and look at the sources in the footnotes, they're still lying. Someone claiming to have the truth shouldn't lie.

Brittany-Johnson

During high school I depended a lot on the church for social support, even though I had serious doubts as to its validity.
I got more involved with it after I graduated high school and I moved in with my older brother. I still had doubts, but I got to a point where I felt like a mission was something that I needed to do. I still wasn't sure if Mormonism was true, but I thought my life would be easier if I thought it was. I got called to the Las Vegas Spanish speaking mission. When I was in the MTC I really took religion a lot more seriously which made me feel like I had to get to the bottom of somethings. I remember watching a video where someone who was raised talked about how if she became a Mormon she wouldn't be the good catholic girl that her family always wanted her to be but that she had to do what she felt was right. That hit me way harder that any experience with the church ever had. I talked to several different people and most of them just tried to reinforce that I had to gain a testimony and told me to read the scriptures and pray until I learn it's true.

I prayed and fasted all the time but the main times when I felt the spirit were when the message was a basic humanism message rather than when it was about Jesus or Mormonism.

I left the mission after 3 months and decided to get to the bottom of what was going on. I realized that I was only aware of the tip of the iceberg about Mormonism. When I accepted that I didn't believe it, a­­ll of the puzzle pieces fit together for me.

Being out of Mormonism helped me to reevaluate beliefs that I had. I became much more liberal in my politics and less judgmental of others. I don't believe in God. I now attend the Unitarian Universalist Church because it is a church that isn’t dogmatic and accepts people for not believing in God.

Richard-Allen-Rawlings

I touched on this in the About Me section. I don't have a testimony of the Church or Joseph Smith. I have not left the church entirely, and will support my TBM wife for as long as she needs, even if that's forever. I love that this faith experience has allowed me to finally be myself and feel real peace.

When is the next scheduled meet up? We are looking forward to it since we are currently viewed as outcasts inside and outside of the church. People haven’t wanted to hang out since we were considered Mormons, and members haven’t wanted to because we were viewed as outside the box thinkers, haha. We just want other families to relate to and to have a safe space with people going through similar religious challenges. 

A very condensed recap of our affiliation with the LDS church is that I had “faith challenges” my whole life but was always taught that if I doubt it is of satan. So I went on to submit my papers to go on a mission, but because I came from a broken home with absent parents I was denied. I did not agree with this at all but once again was afraid to challenge the decision because that would be me challenging God (or so I thought at the time). 
Later I went through the temple and was completely uncomfortable, not because I didn’t feel like I was “worthy” enough to be there but because everything seemed so cult like and strange. Once again I’m sure you all can guess how I handled my feelings.. bottled them up, did not question, and forged onward. 
I was lucky enough to meet the love of my life years later and we went through the typical temple marriage, she being born and raised in Idaho made it easier for her to follow the churches very specific and unrelenting guidelines on how a person should function throughout their life.

Fast forward to today.
I no longer believe in the church or its leaders, but I do value and appreciate some of the things I’ve learned along the way, for example how important it is to love one another, how to properly raise our children, and how life can be driven with the lord without the institution of a religion.
My wife is still in the faith crisis stage but understands and supports my views. We have two beautiful strong daughters and a son on the way.

We are in search of similar or like minded friends and families to meet, keep in touch with, and most importantly relate with as we continue on this journey.

Both of us are extremely grateful that these groups exist and look forward to more interactions, wishing you all the best day and hope that this message is not too much.
Thank you for allowing me to share.

I stumbled upon the CES letter and "letter for my wife" by accident. Once I opened them and began reading, it gave me a voracious and undeniable appetite for all things church history to determine for myself what really happened. As I discovered the differences between the church's doctored and edited version and everyone else's, I quickly saw that the church was protecting its own interests at the expense of lying to millions of people for no reason other than to protect their image and continue taking others' time and money.
This need for evidence and rationality has since convinced me that the Bible is not from God and that if there is some force out there, it is certainly not what any religions describe it to be.
It was clear to me that I had been deceived and for the first time I was able to question what had been as much a part of my life as breathing. Once it entered my brain that the church could possibly be a fabrication, it all fell into place very easily. The church claims the Book of Mormon is the last stand, the one thing testimonies ride on when everything else has been questioned and dismantled, the Book of Mormon stands. Does it though? If most everything BUT the Book of Mormon has been disproven or cast into suspicion, does that rationalize staying in a religion which holds on to the one thing that has yet to be 100% proven false, even though it has its problems as well. So that domino fell too, and there was nothing left to defend the church.
I'm anticipating a transfer to a different university, since I am enrolled at BYU. It's intimidating for sure, but I am convinced it is a folly to devote oneself to a religion wholly and unquestioningly. It is the most important thing to live a life full of love, happiness, and new experiences. If the church doesn't give you those, start running.

BW

As a teenager (1980's), my great uncle, who was a devout baptist Christian, sent me mailings from an anti-Mormon group in Utah, led by John L. Smith (no relation to THAT Smith). The things they would write about as "evidences" against the church were pathetic; worse than the "GodMakers" film of that time.

I went to BYU for a year, and went as a missionary to the Belgium Brussels Mission (defunct), from 1988-1990. The mission was thankfully, almost entirely a great experience. The mission president wasn't a jackass, I had great companions (except for one), and I really loved the people. In fact, just before writing this I was speaking to one of them. I was a successful missionary for that area of the world, baptizing about 35 people. I returned home an even more devout Mormon.

I returned to BYU in the winter semester of 1993. During this semester, I was called to do research for the Stake, to be use as a supplement in Sunday School lessons. Because of the nature of the calling, I was brought into contact with the controversial issues of church history. It was at this time that I encountered the issues regarding The Book of Abraham, Joseph's polygamy, the seer stone, The Book of Mormon anachronisms, etc. This is when I started building my shelf...

It became a rather large shelf, and it wasn't sagging, for one reason alone. I couldn't figure out how Joseph Smith came up with The Book of Mormon. The explanations I'd seen from "anti" sources, just didn't cut it.

Then in May of 2014, I happened upon a video presentation by Chris Johnson, "How The Book of Mormon destroyed Mormonism", where, in short, he demonstrates that Joseph Smith, Jr., certainly borrowed from a book of his time "The Late War", in the creation of The Book of Mormon.

Bam!! No more shelf. What had been building for over 20 years, collapsed in 2 hours. I then knew precisely how Joseph Smith, Jr., fabricated The Book of Mormon.

Shortly thereafter I encountered the CESLETTER, which condensed what I already knew, into an easy to read format.

I resigned from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in December of 2014. It was a difficult thing to do. I've been called absolutely horrible things by people who I thought were inalienable friends. I was wrong. And that shows how profound the Cult of Mormonism actually is.

I am now philosophically Atheist, while finding a niche concept in the addition of "Possiblian" by Dr. David Eaglemen (Google it).

I lost my youngest daughter, Coralee (18), in January, and am currently struggling to find a semblance of peace in life since then.

I have 5 children, and two grand-daughters.

Please contact me if you have any questions, or I can help with your escape from Mormonism. ([email protected])

Rodney-James-McGuire

I had a good relationship with the church, despite my doubts, until I met my teacher's quorum leader. He was extremely overbearing and had the quorum visit inactive members for mutual activities multiple times. It was too much, so I took a break. My leader's reaction was to bring the quorum to my family's home unannounced. He was unaware of my sensory issues and found that his visit was not well received. It was one bad experience, I know, but it was a turning point for me. I started to research and question everything. The more I learned, the more I resented the church for how they deceived me and tried to shepard me into a cookie-cutter life with nothing to look forward to but praying, paying, and hoping. I realized that, if there is a god, his church would not be run this way, and I need to get out. I was too scared of being non-religious out of fear of how the people around me might react. This was a fear totally manufactured by the church, but it was very real to me. I tried Buddhism, but ran into the same roadblock of unrealistic promises, particularly involving the afterlife. I wrote my resignation letter at this time, but it took me three years to work up the courage to send it. There were a lot of theology arguments between my TBM brother and I during that time. He embodies what the church could be if it wasn't corrupt, and I respect that. He helped me leave, because he could see the pain the church was causing me. I couldn't lie about who I was anymore, so I left.

I left after having a discussion about Joseph Smith's polygamy with a friend. When the LDS church published a series of 13 Gospel Topics Essays on their website, he pointed out to me that the church finally admitted that Joseph Smith was a polygamist. I fought back, because I was raised and taught that he was monogamous, and even went so far as to tell my friend he must be mistaken, or the church had it wrong. However, I admitted that I didn't know a lot about the issue, and promised him I would look into it. As an avid reader, and an amateur researcher, I held to my promise. But the deeper I dug into Joseph Smith's history, the deeper I went down the rabbit hole of LDS church history. I was soon learning not only about Joseph Smith's polygamy, but also his folk magic, and the problems with the Book of Abraham, and the Kinderhook Plates, and so much more, to the point that it became very clear to me that the narrative I was learning was not matching the dominant narrative I learned growing up, nor the dominant narrative that is currently being taught. I tried hard to give space for the historicity of the church claims, but every essay, paper, blog post, podcast episode, and so much more, was lined with mountains and mountains of references and citations, all of which could be verified. The "antimormon" literature I was reading was really the true church history, and it rocked my world. From April 2015 to January 2016, I was deeply consumed with everything I could get my hands on to try so hard to prove that these "antimormon lies" were just that- lies. But it the exact opposite. After 9 months of intense and exhausting research, I realized that the evidence for the truth claims lied overwhelmingly with the critics of Mormonism, and not the apologetics. For months, I dealt with anger and depression, as I tried to wrestle with 40 years of my life essentially being a lie. But, the storm settled, the relationship with my wife grew stronger, and now I have honest conversations with my wife and daughter about real issues, doctrine and policy, that shape our lives and the lives around us. These discussions are healthy, they provide deep reflection and introspection into difficult topics, and we have a space where we are happy, vibrant, and authentic.

atoponce

I left because of its history, treatment of LGBT+ community, treatment of women, and immoral doctrines. The most difficult part has been how my highly mormon family has reacted to it. They haven't been the most open minded and it's been hurtful, on top of what the leaders lie to them about why I left. I hope they find a more positive way to treat ex members.

Emilie-Shamy

Bow is my resignation letter to my bishop.

I’d like to formally resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and have my name removed from the membership records. 

I have had the chance to take a break from the church over the last 15 months and the result has been life-changingly positive. 

Where I used to suffer from self-hatred and debilitatingly low self-esteem, I have found love for myself and have started to heal, becoming proud of who I am and what I can accomplish. 

Where I used to be medicated for desperation and sought the services of therapists and psychiatrists, I now enjoy peace and happiness beyond anything I’ve felt in the past. 

Where I used to be in constant distress about who I was and how I couldn’t change my nature - despite the years of efforts and help from clergy and professionals, now I’ve come to truly love myself - giving me a calm peace and confidence that I never knew was possible. 

Where I used to feel like I was living a double life, hiding who I was from everyone I loved in fear and shame, I now have removed the fake facade. I now know that those around me truly love me for who I am, not the role that I felt forced to play. 

Where I felt judged and inferior due to being “old” and “single,” judged that from my birth I was damned to never reach the highest degree of glory like my peers and family, judged for being different and for having an incurable, taboo “trial,” I now feel free. Free from judgement and from false expectations pushed on to me from people who will never understand my life. 

Where I lived in fear and in a constant state of anxiety, those feelings are now replaced with safety and tranquility and peace. 

Where I felt an inability to move forward with me life, I now feel excited and hopeful about the future. An institute teacher pointed out to me that the next step for me, according to lds doctrine, is to get sealed in the temple. That is the next ordinance in my progression and the next step for my soul to take on its journey. However, since I am unable to get sealed in this life, I will have to wait until the next life to progress. In other words, I am to just wait until I die...Then I can finally move forward with my eternal progression. As a 25 year old - my progression in this life was over. Please consider the negative weight of this doctrine and how a youthful college student must feel upon realization that he is not allowed to move forward with his life. Taking a break from the church and shedding this horrifyingly depressing and incomprehensibly offensive doctrine, I was finally able to imagine a future for myself where I could be happy and I could progress with a family, with kids, with love and happiness and companionship and a future. I can now start to set goals and make plans and be motivated to work for a better life. But I can’t have these things if I remain a member of the church. 

In October of 2017 these terrible thoughts and views poisoned my mind to the point that I attempted to end my life. Looking back I am terrified to think how that night could have come to a horrific end. Coming out of that experience, I realized that something needed to change if I wanted to survive. I took the scary and lonely path of distancing myself from the church - my culture,  my family, my friends - and also distanced myself from the unacceptably degrading reality of being a gay man in the church. The resulting 15 months have proven to be literally life saving. I’ve found peace, happiness, and love that I never thought was possible for me. I now can see a future for myself. 

The church has no answers. No help for someone that is pleading for guidance and direction. No place for a gay man in the kingdom. The church’s official website on Mormons and gays is misleading at best - I personally know several of the people on the website and I know that the image that the church pushes is falsified and full of deception. In each case there is a dark side that is never acknowledged by the church - depression, secret love affairs to fill unmet needs, double lives, marrying a woman but still having emotionally intimate relationships with men, divorces, and overall men who are unhealthy both emotionally and mentally.

During the journey of my life, I have literally tried every option to find peace, love, acceptance, and a place in the church - mission, active church service, attentive general conference study, institute classes and one on one conversations with every institute teacher I had, meetings with bishops, years of church-approved therapy with 4 different therapists and a psychiatrist, gay Mormon conferences and support groups, 12 step groups, medication, fasting, praying, scripture study, weekly temple attendance - it has been literally an entire life given to the church. But I have found that there is no place for me in God’s great “Plan of Happiness.” 

I deserve to be happy. I deserve to have love in my life. I deserve to have peace and hope for a future. My life in the church prevented me from accomplishing this and made me feel like I wasn’t worthy or capable of attaining happiness or love or peace or hope. 

This is why I must resign. I’m resigning because I deserve a future. 

FreeAtLast

Like most, I took a deep dive into the truth claims of TSCC.  What hurt me most was that I was never given the chance to decide with all the information available to me.  I felt betrayed at lied to. 

Banterfix

Gay son and disturbing church history as well as not being allowed to question like you used to.

Erika-Henderson

In the end, there were many, many reasons I finally chose to leave, but my loss of trust (and ultimately belief) in the faith began six years after my baptism, when I learned that the Mormon church officially practiced what they believed to be "God-mandated" systematic racism until 1978. From 1852-1978, faithful black men weren't allowed to be ordained to the priesthood, and black men, women, and children weren't allowed to enter the temple or be sealed to their families, because Mormon prophets and apostles believed they were a cursed race.

Yes...1978...14 years after the US Civil Rights Act was passed, and after the rest of America was starting to get it right.

Being half-black, learning about the church's doctrines, revelations, and policies of racism hurt me deeply; they were incredibly personal.

Had my dad been Mormon, he would have lived with this policy for 20 years of his life. Growing up in the 1960s and 70s, he already experienced racism everywhere else; he would have also felt it at church, while still calling his fellow white church-members "brother" and "sister."

Had I been born just one generation earlier, I most likely wouldn't have married my husband, who is white, because the church condemned interracial marriage, and asserted it had a gospel-centered basis. I wouldn't (nor would my daughter) have been able to enter the temple, to be sealed to our children, wear the temple garments, or serve a mission. Our son, who looks like his dad, with pale skin, blond hair, and blue eyes, wouldn't have been able to receive the priesthood, serve a mission, be a home teacher, or ever be in a position of leadership over white church members.

As parents, we would have had to determine when and how to explain to our children why a God who supposedly loved us all equally had cursed us, why we were less worthy, and why we were a caste apart from our non-black brothers and sisters, which is what Mormon prophets taught as doctrine and/or failed to denounce well into the 2000s.

Our children would have grown up believing: "Those who were less valiant in the pre-existence and who thereby had certain spiritual restrictions imposed upon them during mortality are known to us as the negroes. Such spirits are sent to earth through the lineage of Cain, the mark put upon him for his rebellion against God and his murder of Abel being a black skin...but this inequality is not of man’s origin. It is the Lord’s doing, based on His eternal laws of justice, and grows out of the lack of spiritual valiance of those concerned in their first estate" (Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, "Mormon Doctrine", published and sold by Deseret Book from 1958-2010).

Those, and far more heinous "doctrine," are the things black Mormon parents ACTUALLY had to tell their kids...

What does that do to a person, let alone a child's, self-esteem and self-worth? What sort of God would allow His chosen and anointed prophets, seers, and revelators to dispense and perpetuate such filth in Christ's name for 150 years? How can a child feel love from a God who they are told feels this way about them?

These are also the things white Mormons taught their kids, as they justified why it was okay to treat black people differently. Those kids are now adults, and they're the ones leading the Mormon church.

I had never personally felt the sting and shame of racism in my life, until I felt it through the Mormon church.

I remained in the church for five more years after I learned about these things, but I went through periods of intense anger, confusion, betrayal, sadness, resentment, guilt, shame, otherness, self-loathing, and doubt. I still wanted to believe the church was true and made every effort to study the "doctrine" with an eye of faith and by using church-approved resources (as the church discourages using non-Mormon resources for study...), but the church had little to nothing to say on the history of blacks at the time and didn't provide answers or address it in their manuals or websites; white-washing, modifying, and withholding information is intentional and openly advocated by church leadership (https://byustudies.byu.edu/content/mantle-far-far-greater-intellect).

It all felt so wrong, but I would shove those feelings down. I'd go to church. Fulfill my callings. Read my scriptures. Fast and pray. Because I believed that if I left, I'd be sacrificing my salvation and my eternal family.

And then something would trigger those feelings or questions and the cycle would start all over again; each time with anger and bitterness more intense than the time before. I often felt sick with myself. Who was I? I belonged to an organization that taught and preached things I hated, but that I felt bound to; I was so entrenched--from family to friends to my own personal fear that I'd be defying God--leaving wasn't really something I even considered. For five years I experienced an identity crisis of massive proportions. Oftentimes, the worse I felt about the history, the stronger I supported the church--how else could I justify staying?

Well-meaning friends and church leaders would admonish me to "Just be patient and have more faith! You may not understand it now but answers will come!" I would then feel immense guilt, believing that the reason I was struggling with this (when it didn't seem to bother anyone else) was that my faith was weak.

In my final year in the church, I was in an incredibly dark, depressing place. Even reading the Book of Mormon became painful to me, as it's also filled with verses that assert that God cursed unrighteous peoples with black skin (2Nephi 5:21, 2 Nephi 30:6, Jacob 3:5, Alma 3:6,8, 3 Nephi 2:15-16, Moses 5:40, Moses 7:8, Moses 7:22, Abraham 1:24).

I was hurt that these things happened. I was hurt the church didn't apologize for them. I was hurt that the church ignored them. I was hurt that members ignored them.

I was angry that the church tried to cover it up by changing the history and sharing half-truths. I was angry that for 150 years prophets said the bans were doctrines received by direct revelation from God, but that today they say they weren't and now simply refer to them as "folklore" and "policies".

I know that church leaders will probably never directly admit to the origins of the racist policies, the doctrinal and prophetic conundrums raised by their 150 year existence, nor ever sincerely apologize for them (something black Mormons desperately want), because that would require them to admit that their prophets were and can be wrong.

After five years of mental gymnastics, of forcing myself to accept/justify/sustain things that I believed to be wrong, (ie: polygamy, the church's treatment of LGBTQ people and its policy banning their children from becoming Mormon, the church's involvement in discriminatory politics like Proposition 8 (which fought gay marriage in California), misogyny and patriarchy within the church, etc.), I finally gave myself permission to study the church and its history objectively, allowing room for reason, logic, and intellect as well as faith, and to be okay with whatever answer I came to regarding my beliefs about the truthfulness of the church.

That's when it all came crashing down.

I studied many topics, extensively.

I studied Brigham Young's endorsement and implementation of slavery in Utah Territory, the origins and justifications of the church's racist doctrine and policies, Joseph Smith's multiple and vastly differing accounts of his first vision, historical accounts of how the Book of Mormon was "actually translated" using a hat and a seer stone, the origins and inaccuracies of the Book of Abraham, the corruption, lies, coercion, and child brides during the years of polygamy, the innumerable changes to wording and doctrine within the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, the many instances in which Mormon prophets contradicted each other, scriptures, and even themselves (Adam-God doctrine, the evils of birth control, etc.).

This information didn't come from "anti-Mormon" sources--most of it came from neutral, peer-reviewed sources as well as historical church publications, including Journal of Discourses, General Conference talks, document scans of past church leaders' journals, History of the Church, and archived Ensign articles.

The moment I first formed the words in my mind, "None of this makes sense because the Mormon church isn't true," I felt like a 10 ton weight had been lifted off of me. I felt free. I felt peace. I felt a happiness I hadn't felt in years.

Despite having had it drilled into me for the last 10 years that the Mormon gospel was the only way to peace and happiness, I finally considered the possibility of leaving,

and the thought filled me with unadulterated joy.

I did not leave the church because of sin, because I was angry, because I had a "faith-crisis," or because I gave up.

I chose to leave because I no longer believe in it. The church had become a place of anxiety, anger, and depression for me because it fundamentally contradicted who I am and what I believe. Leaving was a deeply studied, well-informed, much agonized over, conscious decision.

Leaving the church has been liberating, but it has of course been a tricky thing to navigate with family and friends who are still Mormon. Despite that, it's been an AMAZING decision for me and I have no regrets.

Life outside the church is good. Living your authentic life is good. Logic is good. Listening to and trusting yourself is good. You'll find that those who truly love you for who you are, and who are secure enough with their own beliefs and convictions, will stick by you.

I left the Mormon church a year ago, after 10 years as a member.

I'm happy I did.

kelly0408

In the end, there were many, many reasons I finally chose to leave, but my loss of trust (and ultimately belief) in the faith began six years after my baptism, when I learned that the Mormon church officially practiced systematic racism until 1978. From 1852-1978, faithful black men weren't allowed to be ordained to the priesthood, and black men, women, and children weren't allowed to enter the temple or be sealed to their families, solely because of their race.

Yes...1978...14 years after the US Civil Rights Act was passed, and after the rest of America was starting to get it right.

Being half-black, the church's doctrines, revelations, and policies of racism hurt me deeply; they were incredibly personal for me.

Had my dad been Mormon, he would have lived with this policy for 20 years of his life. Growing up in the 1960s and 70s, he already experienced racism everywhere else; he would have also felt it at church, while still calling his fellow white church-members "brother" and "sister."

Had I been born just one generation earlier, I most likely wouldn't have married my husband, who is white, because the church condemned interracial marriage, and asserted it had a gospel-centered basis. I wouldn't have been able to enter the temple, to be sealed to our children, wear the temple garments, or serve a mission. Our son, who looks like his dad, with pale skin, blond hair, and blue eyes, wouldn't have been able to receive the priesthood, serve a mission, be a home teacher, or ever be in a position of leadership over white church members. Our daughter also wouldn't have been able to be sealed to her spouse or children for eternity.

As parents, we would have had to determine when and how to explain to our children why a God who supposedly loved us all equally had cursed us, why we were less worthy, and why we were a caste apart from our non-black brothers and sisters, which is what Mormon prophets taught as doctrine and/or failed to denounce well into the 2000s.

Our children would have grown up believing: "Those who were less valiant in the pre-existence and who thereby had certain spiritual restrictions imposed upon them during mortality are known to us as the negroes. Such spirits are sent to earth through the lineage of Cain, the mark put upon him for his rebellion against God and his murder of Abel being a black skin...but this inequality is not of man’s origin. It is the Lord’s doing, based on His eternal laws of justice, and grows out of the lack of spiritual valiance of those concerned in their first estate" (Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, "Mormon Doctrine", published and sold by Deseret Book from 1958-2010).

Those, and far more heinous "doctrine," are the things black Mormon parents ACTUALLY had to tell their kids...

What does that do to a person, let alone a child's, self-esteem and self-worth? What sort of God would allow His chosen and anointed prophets, seers, and revelators to dispense and perpetuate such filth in Christ's name for 150 years? How can a child feel love from a God who they are told feels this way about them?

These are also the things white Mormons taught their kids, as they justified why it was okay to treat black people differently.

Those kids are now adults, and they're the ones leading the Mormon church.

I had never personally felt the sting and shame of racism in my life, until I felt it through the church.

I remained in the church for five more years after I learned about these things, but I went through periods of intense anger, confusion, betrayal, sadness, resentment, guilt, shame, otherness, self-loathing, and doubt. I still wanted to believe the church was true and made every effort to study the "doctrine" with an eye of faith and by using church-approved resources (as the church discourages using non-Mormon resources for study...), but the church had little to nothing to say on the history of blacks at the time and didn't provide answers or address it in their manuals or websites.

I've since learned that white-washing, modifying, and withholding information from church members is intentional, wide-spread, and openly endorsed by church leadership (https://byustudies.byu.edu/content/mantle-far-far-greater-intellect).

It all felt so wrong, but I would shove it all down. Go to church. Fulfill my callings. Read my scriptures. Fast and pray. Feel some sort of peace over the whole thing. Because I believed that if I left, I'd be sacrificing my salvation and my eternal family.

And then something would trigger those feelings or questions and the cycle would start all over again; each time with anger and bitterness more intense than the time before. I often felt sick with myself. Who was I? I belonged to an organization that taught and preached things I hated, but that I felt bound to; I was so entrenched--from family to friends to my own personal fear that I'd be defying God--leaving wasn't really something I even considered. For five years I experienced an identity crisis of massive proportions. Oftentimes, the worse I felt about the history, the stronger I supported the church--how else could I justify staying? Well-meaning friends and church leaders would admonish me to "Just be patient and have more faith! You may not understand it now but answers will come!"

I would then feel immense guilt, believing that the reason I was struggling with this when it didn't seem to bother anyone else was that my faith was weak.

In my final year in the church, I was in an incredibly dark, depressing place. Even reading the Book of Mormon became painful to me, as it's also filled with verses that assert that God cursed unrighteous peoples with black skin (2Nephi 5:21, 2 Nephi 30:6, Jacob 3:5, Alma 3:6,8, 3 Nephi 2:15-16, Moses 5:40, Moses 7:8, Moses 7:22, Abraham 1:24).

I was hurt that these things happened. I was hurt the church didn't apologize for them. I was hurt that the church ignored them. I was hurt that members ignored them.

I was angry that the church tried to cover it up by changing the history and sharing half-truths. I was angry that for 150 years prophets said the bans were doctrines received by direct revelation from God, but that today they say they weren't and now simply refer to them as "folklore" and "policies". I'm angry that they don't address how it's possible for a past prophet to claim God told him to do something, but later prophets can say God actually didn't. If "prophets" can be wrong when they invoke God's name, why believe anything any of them say?

I know that church leaders will probably never directly admit to to the origins of the racist policies, the doctrinal and prophetic conundrums raised by their 150 year existence, nor ever sincerely apologize for them (something black Mormons desperately want), because that would require them to admit that their prophets were and can be wrong.

But it's insulting that they think we're not smart enough to figure that out.

After five years of mental gymnastics, of forcing myself to accept/justify/sustain things that I believed to be wrong, (ie: polygamy, the church's treatment of LGBTQ people and its policy banning their children from baptism/baby blessings/missionary service, the church's involvement in discriminatory politics like Prop 8, misogyny and patriarchy within the church, etc.), I finally gave myself permission to study the church and its history objectively, from an intellectual and academic perspective, and to be okay with whatever answer I came to regarding my beliefs about the truthfulness of the church.

That's when it all came crashing down.

I studied A LOT. Hours, and days, and weeks of INTENSE study.

I studied Brigham Young's endorsement and implementation of slavery in Utah Territory. Joseph Smith's multiple and vastly differing accounts of his first vision. Historical accounts of how the Book of Mormon was actually translated using a hat and a seer stone. The illigitimacy and inaccuracies of the Book of Abraham. The corruption, lies, coercion, and child brides during the years of polygamy. The innumerable changes to wording and doctrine within the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. The countless times prophets contradicted each other, scriptures, and even themselves (Adam-God doctrine, the evils of birth control, etc.). The church's historical and current overt attempts to censor and cover-up information that damages its reputation.

This information didn't come from "anti-Mormon" sources--most of it came from neutral, peer-reviewed scholarly articles and/or church publications, including Journal of Discourses, General Conference talks, document scans of past church leaders' journals, History of the Church, archived Ensign articles.

The moment I first formed the words in my mind, "None of this makes sense because the Mormon church isn't true," I felt like a 10 ton weight had been lifted off of me. I felt free. I felt peace. I felt a happiness I hadn't felt in years.

Despite having had it drilled into me for the last 10 years that the Mormon gospel was the only way to peace and happiness, I came clean to myself that the church had become a place that made me anxious, confused, angry, and depressed, because in its most fundamental ways it was a contradiction to who I am and what I believe.

For the first time in 10 years I thought of leaving, and the thought filled me with unadulterated joy.

Telling my branch president--vocalizing the words--that I was leaving the church, was liberating. Leaving the church has been a tricky thing to navigate with family and friends who are still Mormon, but it's been an AMAZING decision for me and I have no regrets.

Life outside the church is good. Living your authentic life is good. Logic is good. Listening to and trusting yourself is good. You'll find that those who truly love you for who you are, and who are secure enough with their own beliefs and convictions, will stick by you.

I left the Mormon church a year ago, after 10 years as a member.

I'm happy I did.

DNA evidence, CES Letter, Book of Abraham hoax, and Joseph Smith being a charlatan. 

Bart-Reynolds

Over the years, some doctrinal things started to gnaw at me. I couldn't square our clear doctrine of eternal families with my personal experiences with LGTBQIA+ friends and family. It just didn't make sense to me that God would ask them to live a life on this earth without ever being able to experience romantic attraction and love with someone they truly wanted to be with and make a family with. I cried about it many times, just thinking about what a cruel situation it was. I also remember feeling sympathetic to the "Ordain Women" movement, although I didn't know enough about feminism and wasn't brave enough to join them at the time. Polygamy didn't always bother me, but I did feel very negatively towards Joseph Smith after reading more about him and his personality and what he put Emma through (in a book called "'The Mormon People" by Matthew Bowman. After that

Life sort of continued as usual until my husband (through his own chain of shelf-breaking events) read the CES Letter. He told me about it, and other things he was finding out about church history. It didn't shock or bother me too much, but I felt that he was overreacting. For a while I would just listen to him, and then I decided I should probably read it myself to gain a better understanding of where he was coming from. Once I did, that was pretty much it for me. I felt after reading it that Joseph Smith had just created a cult back in 1830 that has now turned into something less cult-y. But the most important thing I took away was that it was all made up. That combined with the other issues I mentioned in the first paragraph shattered my shelf.

I continued going to church for a while until the cognitive dissonance became unbearable, and then I asked to be released from my ward organist calling and told my bishop I didn't want to attend anymore. (He is amazing, and so is our whole ward. They've been very respectful of our journey.) It's been a very trying year and a half emotionally. I've been dealing with depression and feelings of intense existential crisis (not sure if that's the right term). Basically, it's really effing hard to live your whole life with certainty and then to come to the realization that it's all an illusion. But therapy and many long, raw talks with my husband have helped. It's been extremely therapeutic to let my family know where I stand in a non-confrontational way and to answer their questions with confidence, although I know not everyone is so lucky.

lindsyae

Simply put, my shelf broke, and the cons of church activity in that state of turmoil began to outweigh the pros. There were some minor concerns before my shelf started getting heavy, but they could always be explained, rationalized, or disregarded as anti-mormon. After some serious study, the concerns became insurmountable and it became clear that my family and I would have a hard time participating in the church we love as non-traditional/unorthodox believers. 

grmullins

As I began my own study of church history using uncorrelated but still faithful sources I was quickly surrounded by new things which troubled me. I found ways to make things work for years as I continued trying to learn all that I could about our history and probably would have made it work too but the biggest issue that I found was that when I tried to have conversations with members about the new things I had learned, they either didn't want to know (active information avoidance), didn't want to talk about it (were struggling to deal with the same issues) or worse, tried to engage and ended up passing on troubling responses which caused me to have bigger issues (e.g. "God has always given priesthood to men of specific heritage, like the tribe of Judah from the bible.") More than any specific issue it was the general response to questions and doubts that began to feel very cultish and half-examined. During that time I also began to explore spiritual traditions outside mormonism and began to be spiritually nourished from dozens of sources I would have never considered. The loss of certainty opened a whole new stage of curiosity and rediscovery of God and what it means to live a moral life. Eventually I left mormonism because I found something better.

Brandon Shumway

I learned Mormonism had a messy and complicated past early on in my time in the Church. But as time went on I came to grips with other issues that further complicated my beliefs. First I learned the Church was causing real harm to people who did not fit the mold. The LGBT community was deeply at risk. Others included members who had doubts as well as members who concluded the Church was not what it claimed and left. I sensed just how precarious relationships are between people who loved each other but for which their doubt or disbelief led to believing family stepping back from full inclusive love. I learned the Church was not a safe place for many. Second was that I had to come to grips that the Church shielding its members and the public generally from learning the complicated history was at least in large part intentional. This was hard. Once I dealt with that I was opened up to whether the truth claims of my beloved faith truly held up against the history and against thinking rationally and logically. Over about a 6 year period I slowly deconstructed my entire belief system and lost Faith in Mormonism's truth claims and in Mormonism's ability to be healthy to others if those healthy interactions would damage the institutional Church.

In the beginning I thought I was having a faith crisis. That wasn't true. I wanted Mormonism to be truth more than anything else. If anything maybe I cared too much. Instead the Church had a truth crisis. And in my own personal growth and development, the Church no longer represented my values. I wasn't less than. I didn't want to sin. I wasn't lazy. I had outgrown Mormonism and it was no longer a safe place for me and the truths I held to voraciously.

Bill Reel

As seniors my husband and I served a mission to Capetown, South Africa. On our second day in the country, we were involved in a road accident in the mission's Volkswagen van. We were passengers in the back seat and received the worst injuries. My husband's neck was broken, my back and many other bones. We had cuts and bruising everywhere.

GOD DIDN'T PROTECT US. We were wearing our temple garment underwear, we were being faithful by serving a mission and yet... I didn't give up on the church over that of course but it did begin a series of questions about why and why God seemed to have abandoned Africa - I had never seen such poverty - even among the faithful members of the church. The accident happened in April and on July 4th my son-in-law's battle with cancer ended with his death at age 32. Just before Christmas one of our missionaries, newly arrived from the USA on Wed, was killed in yet another car accident on Friday - WHY? We returned home to Canada after serving for 18 months, but I could not settle into the old way of life knowing that people in Africa were hungry, needed education and jobs, so we raised money and went back to our old mission area to give out micro loans for people to start their own businesses. WHY doesn't the church do that? My second son left the church and I wanted to know why. He shared what information he had about the history of the church and before too long, I had read all of that and so much more. It was a terrible time for me and I felt quite suicidal. I didn't know who I was if, after 39 years, I was no longer 'Sister Bodie', the bishop's wife, the branch president's wife, the seminary teacher etc. Some of my family members and my children were angry / upset with me for leaving the church, my husband and I were arguing about the information I was discovering and I realized that God didn't even care about that. If God loved anyone, ever, he certainly did not love me. I learned that 'feelings' are not a good way to determine what is true. I learned that information needed sources to even be considered. I learned that the reason why black men could not receive the priesthood was pure racism. I learned that the church is a racist, misogynistic organization that does not deserve the loyalty of its members - so I resigned my membership.

Jean Bodie

I had always enjoyed science and had many things church related on my shelf due to that background. I learned about skepticism and finally applied it to my own belief and it all fell apart.

Spencer Warner

I came to a moment described in To Whom Shall We Go? By Elder M. Russell Ballard where he said:

“Life can be like hikers ascending a steep and arduous trail. It is a natural and normal thing to occasionally pause on the path to catch our breath, to recalculate our bearings, and to reconsider our pace. Not everyone needs to pause on the path, but there is nothing wrong with doing so when your circumstances require. In fact, it can be a positive thing for those who take full advantage of the opportunity to refresh themselves with the living water of the gospel of Christ.”

I had paused on the path. I had no intention of leaving it. I just had to take a spell, breath, and refresh myself. And refresh myself I did. In the end, I had my testimony. I had all my spiritual witnesses. So, I decided to use my strong faith as another support for my shelf. In fact, it became the dust cloth for my shelf. Everything on it was covered over with my faith. I wouldn’t have to look at it.

I could not deny the feelings I had had. In addition to that, I saw the net result of the church as good. Sure, there were some skeletons and unknowns, but in the end my family was happy, the church helps a lot of people, and I had been very happy during my most faithful times in the church. Even if what I had found was true, that the church was founded by a charlatan treasure hunter, that the secession of the prophetic mantle went to a man whose teachings are disavowed by current leaders, that maybe the church isn’t true after all…even if this was the reality, the church as it stands today is a force for good, and persisting in a church that teaches such wonderful things would give us good structure and education.

I continued on the path. I asked for and fulfilled callings. I went to church. I asked to give talks in sacrament meetings. I bore my testimony when possible. I renewed my temple recommend. I was returning, my testimony was strengthening.

And I was happy.

Then one day, a news article popped up on my feed. It covered the infamous www.mormonleaks.io and a new newsroom post, showing the church’s sexual abuse reporting policy was directly protecting and covering up sexual abuse and the offenders.

One of the many atrocities from that PDF:

The missionary department is reluctant to send this Elder home to [REDACTED] where he may face prosecution for a felony. His conduct is clearly unlawful in [REDACTED] , and his Stake President would have a duty to report. The Elder also recently confessed to kissing and some touching with a 15 year old girl in the mission field.
I took that post along with other public reports to my loved ones. It was then that I learned of how this had happened to people I know and love. I was able to corroborate, and know that the church has an ongoing history of practicing loose regard of sexual abusers, as well as cover up of such atrocities.

Finally, in my privileged eyes I could no longer deny: the net result of the church was bad. My shelf broke. How could I, in good conscience, have my name tied to such an organization? How could my hard-earned wages, my time, my service, my family, and my life go towards an organization that had abused people I love, covered it up, and left those abusers in places of power? How could it do this countless other times?

I finally knew that the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints belittled women and minorities, fought against basic human rights, hurt those seeking comfort, harbored and enabled sexual abusers, and lent to the systematic oppression of anything and anyone that would threaten its doctrine, image, financials, or reach. It continues to teach that those born in this day and in the Mormon corridor are chosen spirits, which is just a positive spin on their existing doctrine that people born in other countries and times are less-worthy spirits. This means my deceased son, my niece, my cousin, my brother-in-law, my friends…many of my loved ones…all are less valiant spirits. That they accepted their “condition” just to be able to come here. What kind of hateful elitism is this?!

Now, I am ashamed. Ashamed that, as a white American male, I have been so privileged that I have not realized all this sooner. I had turned a blind eye, followed indoctrination, believed in teachings that created a systematic culture of abuse, inequality, hatred, suppression, and anti-love. I had to get out. I had to remove all association I held with the church. Since then I have learned so, so much more. The lies seem to never end. And today I stand happy, prouder of myself than I have been in a long time. With a clear conscience, my affiliation with the destructive organization comes to an end. I now disavow the church and its hateful teachings. I do not disavow the members. The indoctrination and deceit are real. And there is much good. But as the church itself taught me, if the ice cream is good, but has a little cockroach in it, just don’t eat it.

Turns out, this ice cream has a little more than a cockroach in it.

You may rightly be asking now “But what of your feelings, your testimony?” To which I will reply: But what of these: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycUvC9s4VYA ?
There is so much more I want to share.

For those faithful reading this, know that my exit has brought me so much peace and happiness, despite the difficulties that come with the paradigm shift. I now am free to love everyone as Christ taught, without fear of social stigma or doctrine telling me it is wrong to do so. Nor does that love have addendums, conditions, or secret judgement. I can now denounce my privilege. I can now step aside to help my wife flourish.

I did not resign so I could enjoy the “pleasures of the flesh.” I resigned in hope that my children can now be better people outside of an organization that lets racism, sexism, bigotry, and anti-intellectualism fly under the banner of God. I resigned with hopes that they can be better people than me. Oh, and so they are less likely to be sexually abused, and made to feel guilty while the abuser is protected.

For everyone who reads this, I am sorry. Please help me be a better person as I start my new, post-mormon life. And to anyone with continuing questions or comments, please feel free to reach out 😊

featon

Recommended reading:

"Why I am Not a Christian", Bertrand Russell. "No Man Knows My History", Fawn M Brodie. "Under The Banner of Heaven", Jon Krakauer. "The Blind Watchmaker", Richard Dawkins. "Blood of the Prophets", Will Bagley. "South Pass", Will Bagley (especially for my handcart kindred). My full story: https://www.secular-reality.com/2014/11/17/deep-water/

justin

I believed it all until I felt it damaging to believe. I jumped straight past issues in the church and went full atheist. This caused close to a decade of contention with my then active wife.  I started listening to podcasts on mixed faith marriages in an attempt to better understand my wife. This led to my discovery of so much nastiness cluttering up nearly every aspect of the church. It was only a few months of revealing these truths to my wife before she joined me in post Mormon happiness. 

Jeff Krammer